Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Camera Recommendations

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

I have decided that it is time for me to get a video camera. Ever since I got my Mac Book Pro last year I have been wanting to give iMovie a try. It seems like a neat thing to play with. I am also sure that I could make some money putting up howto movies about topics that interest me. Anyone have any suggestions?

I am also thinking about getting a new digital camera. What I would like is something that wuld take action shots. I don’t need a whole lot of settings it just has to be fast. Anyone have suggestions for that?

Roku Player Best Gadget I Bought This Year

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Last year the best gadget that I bought was the iPhone. This year it has to be the Roku Player.  I currently have it setup to work with my Netflix account. Any movie that I have in my “Watch Now” que can be viewed on the player.  The video quality is really good! I was really impressed. I have watched about three movies now and am really happy with this purchase. This really does help you maximize your netflix subscription.

A Banner Week for Me

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

This week I met a goal that I have been trying to do for the last 9 years. I finally opened a public hotspot in a resteraunt. While some would say so what I say horray!  There have been a lot of obstiacals but things finally came together when I discovered Open-Mesh. The devices are now at the right price point to make something like this possible. The really nice thing is that the devices mesh together so you can cover larger spaces.  While getting the access point is place is a big deal this is only the tip of the iceburg for my grand plan. Next steps are to modify a version of the dashboard software they use so I can do some intersting things to the individual nodes and to setup a proxy server for the whole network.

So then next time you are in Arlington Heights IL stop by the Tuscan Market and Wine shop and enjoy some good wine, food and wifi.

Removing Credit Card Start date from OSCommerce Payment Processing

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Recently a person wrote me to ask for help with OsCommerce. They wanted the “Credit Card Start Date” and a second security code field removed from the payment information screen. I did a little investigation and it looks like other people were looking to do soemthing similar but nobody provided any information.  So here is how I did it.

The file file that you will need to edit is includes/modules/payment/paypal_direct.php .

First if you want to remove the solo card and  switch card from the drop down list of card types you will want to edit the cc_types array around line 35 to be the following:

$this->cc_types = array(’VISA’ => ‘Visa’,
‘MASTERCARD’ => ‘MasterCard’,
‘DISCOVER’ => ‘Discover Card’,
‘AMEX’ => ‘American Express’);

The next thing that needs to be done is removing the offending form elements.  On or about line 109 you need to remove refrences to MODULE_PAYMENT_PAYPAL_DIRECT_CARD_VALID_FROM and MODULE_PAYMENT_PAYPAL_DIRECT_CARD_ISSUE_NUMBER. The confirmation variable would then look like:

$confirmation = array(’fields’ => array(array(’title’ => MODULE_PAYMENT_PAYPAL_DIRECT_CARD_OWNER,
‘field’ => tep_draw_input_field(’cc_owner’, $order->billing['firstname'] . ‘ ‘ . $order->billing['lastname'])),
‘field’ => tep_draw_pull_down_menu(’cc_type’, $types_array)),
‘field’ => tep_draw_input_field(’cc_number_nh-dns’)),
‘field’ => tep_draw_pull_down_menu(’cc_expires_month’, $months_array) . ‘ ’ . tep_draw_pull_down_menu(’cc_expires_year’, $year_expires_array)),
‘field’ => tep_draw_input_field(’cc_cvc_nh-dns’, ”, ’size=”5″ maxlength=”4″‘)),

Lastly you must remove these from the params variable so that these are processed. On about line 132 change the params like:

‘VERSION’ => ‘3.2′,
‘METHOD’ => ‘DoDirectPayment’,
‘IPADDRESS’ => tep_get_ip_address(),
‘AMT’ => $this->format_raw($order->info['total']),
‘ACCT’ => $HTTP_POST_VARS['cc_number_nh-dns'],
‘EXPDATE’ => $HTTP_POST_VARS['cc_expires_month'] . $HTTP_POST_VARS['cc_expires_year'],
‘CVV2′ => $HTTP_POST_VARS['cc_cvc_nh-dns'],
‘FIRSTNAME’ => substr($HTTP_POST_VARS['cc_owner'], 0, strpos($HTTP_POST_VARS['cc_owner'], ‘ ‘)),
‘LASTNAME’ => substr($HTTP_POST_VARS['cc_owner'], strpos($HTTP_POST_VARS['cc_owner'], ‘ ‘)+1),
‘STREET’ => $order->billing['street_address'],
‘CITY’ => $order->billing['city'],
‘STATE’ => tep_get_zone_code($order->billing['country']['id'], $order->billing['zone_id'], $order->billing['state']),
‘COUNTRYCODE’ => $order->billing['country']['iso_code_2'],
‘ZIP’ => $order->billing['postcode'],
‘EMAIL’ => $order->customer['email_address'],
‘PHONENUM’ => $order->customer['telephone'],
‘CURRENCYCODE’ => $order->info['currency'],
‘BUTTONSOURCE’ => ‘osCommerce22_Default_DP’);

After all these changes you should be able to still accept credit card payments via PayPal and you don’t have these superfluous fields.

If you would like me to make these changes for you please let me know and I would be happy to help you out.

Observations From A Recent Career Fair

Monday, April 7th, 2008

About two weeks ago I worked a booth at recent Chicago Dice Career fair. There were may 15 other companies with booths there. This fair was devoted towards job seekers who considered themselves technical or software development related. This fair was interesting to me because it gave a real sense about where the economy is and what types of people are looking for jobs and what types of people are not looking for a job. The good news is (based on my observations) is that if you are a good solid software developer you are employed and not looking. Te bad news is that if you are a Project Manager (PM) you are out there looking for new gig and you are not alone.  I must have had at least 80 people in a 4 hour period ask if my employer was looking for a Project Manager.  I would tell them that we are looking for developers or sysadmins and they would frown. I guess they were hearing that a lot.

What does this say about the economy? To me it says that we are in the very early stages of a slow down or  recession. It seems that companies are just starting to trim the fat (Project Management) and have decided to keep the meat (developers).  This also means that there possible could be more fat trimming and even meat trimming in  the near future, and that we haven’t even started to see the effects of this recession or coming recession.

As always keep your resume polished and ears to the ground.

Hulu The Best Thing Since the DVD Player

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

I just finished watching “The Big Lebowski” on Hulu.  Hulu is the best new site to come out in a while. Were else can I get all this content for free and have it be legal? Sure there are some commercials but I can stand a 30 second interruption every now and then while I watch a free movie. There is also a ton of NBC and FOX network tv shows on the site as well.

As this service get bigger it would be nice if they implemented a recommendation engine but at least for now the movie content is small enough that I can figure out what to watch.

If you are looking for something to watch but don’t want to trek to the video store or wait for your next DVD in the mail you can always watch the content on Hulu.

Yea 100 users on Beaver Books

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Beaver books the little facebook application that I helped write finally reached 100 registered users!!!!


If you have a facebook account give Beaver Books a try and let me know how you like it.

Pycon 2008

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

I attended Pycon this year. This is the definitive conference for all things python. This was a one of the larger geeky conferences that I have been to in a long time. I think that there are a lot of developers starting to migrate to the language. There are a lot of very cool things being done with python. I would venture to say that if you are a software development company that python can almost run your whole organization. I saw tools that will allow you to do everything from managing your systems (, keeping track of your accounting ( to programming windows based applications and mobile applications. This is truely and amazing ecosystem of software.

The main reason that I attended Pycon was to really nail down id python was something that I wanted to explore more and if Django can really help me put some of my ideas into action. I can say without a doubt that Python is something I need to spend a lot more time on, and Django seems like a very usable environment for creating web apps. I was even more excited when I passed by a booth that showed Python running on a Nokia N95.

So will I dump perl? No I don’t see that happening soon as I must use perl everyday to pay the bills, but I see all my new personal projects moving towards python. Once I start thinking in Python I am sure this will be easier.

Thanks Pycon for showing me the light.

Google Ron Paul

Monday, January 14th, 2008

On the way into work this morning, I noticed a hand painted sign on the side of the road that read “Google Ron Paul“. I think this is really interesting! This is interesting to me because the sign does not mention that he is running for president, nor does it mention that he is part of the Replublican party. It just tells people that the are number 1 in Google and to go look it up. It is a very interesting way to call people to action. So go Google Ron Paul

Wrting Reports May Actually be Fun Now

Monday, December 10th, 2007


For as long as I have been writing software professionally there has always been a need to create reports. I have always found this be be boring but a necessary evil. The basic idea is to query a database munge the data and display it. The hardest part was showing the data to people in a format that they would understand and want to use. I have used different methods from table to graph to create excel spreadsheet. It was always the presentation of the data that seemed to take the longest. Well I think that is all about to change. Last week Google released their Charting API. It provides a nice and easy to use interface to create all kinds of configurable charts. As a developer you specify the url for the browser to retrieve and thier engine does the rest. For example here is the code that I used to generate the 3D pie chart:,20.0,70.0 &chs=300×100&chl=Savings|Taxes|Expenses

That was all there was to it. I didn’t have to understand some crazy graphing javascript code, I didn’t have to play with image magic, I just had to load the url. While this method isn’t great for larger datasets this method is perfect for small datasets. I have already thought of a couple cool ways to use this api, It has actually made me excited to write reporting software now.

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